Overcoming cold-calling jitters

When I ask people what their aversion is to prospecting or cold calling, I hear things like "I don't want to say the wrong thing," "I don't want to look bad," "I don't want to be pushy," "I don't want to be a nuisance," "I want to honour who I am and my integrity," "I don't want to impose," "I don't want to be rejected or hear, 'No,'" or "I don't want to blow it." Isn't it interesting that every single one of those statements begin with the word "I"?

Practically every salesperson I've ever met at some point during their selling or prospecting efforts makes the process about them. This is the number one roadblock to successful prospecting and the leading cause of call reluctance. If you're focused on anything other than the prospect, the value that you can deliver, and whether or not there's a fit, it becomes about the salesperson having an agenda and their need to establish credibility, prove the value of their product/service, get the sale, or book the appointment/demo.

Ultimately, this aversion is rooted in the fact that we're afraid of failing. We're so concerned about making sure we do it the "right way," putting that emphasis on us, we're therefore shifting the process away from the prospect and becoming more concerned about ourselves.

Instead of making this process about you and how much you might be able to gain, make it about the prospect, how much value you can deliver and what's in it for them. Shift the focus away from you and onto them. Once you change the focus to making it about the other person, it immediately relieves you of that fear or unnecessary pressure to look good or perform.

Try this. Change what you are focusing on, which is you. While many people would say that the selling process is about the client, they wind up making it about themselves. Just look at some of the limiting beliefs that contribute to your reluctance to selling or prospecting; think of all the fears or reluctance you experience when it comes to cold calling.

After all, if you are making the process about you and are concerned about your performance, then how are you ever going to capture someone's interest when all of your energy, concentration, and attention is being directed onto you rather than focused on the prospect?

Instead of thinking "What do I need to do to earn their business?" or "What's in it for me?" or "I could really use another customer; what do I need to do to come across the right way?" ask yourself, "What value can I deliver?" or "How best can I support this person?" or "What difference can I make for them today?"

Once you change your focus, attracting new clients then becomes the natural by-product of your selfless efforts and good intentions.

Keith Rosen is the executive sales coach that top corporations, executives, and sales professionals call first. As an engaging speaker, Master Coach, and well-known author of many books and articles, Keith is one of the foremost authorities on coaching people to achieve positive change in their attitude, behaviour, and results. For his work as a pioneer and leader in the coaching profession, Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the US.

By Keith Rosen of Master Coach, All Business.com

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